Harfang & DTC Launch A New Skateboard Wheel Factory In Canada
DTC x Harfang Wheels = DTFANG Industries, a new Canadian Skateboard Wheel Factory to be creating the next generation of skateboard wheel design and production. Get the details from an exclusive Skype interview we were able to get today and get stoked!
DTC x HARFANG = DTFANG INDUSTRIES
THE NEW CANADIAN SKATEBOARD WHEEL FACTORY
What is DTFANG INDUSTRIES?
DTFANG MFG is a new manufacturing company located in Montréal, Québec, Canada specialized in polyurethane and plastics open mold casting and closed mold injection molding. We mainly focus on skateboard/longboard wheels manufacturing. It was born from the association between Alexandre Ulrich from DTC Wheels in France and Yann Lhermitte from Harfang Wheels in Canada. We are located 15 minutes from Montreal airport, 20 minutes from Montreal harbor and 40 minutes from USA boarder giving us a prime location for international trade.
The new factory in Montréal, Canada
How did you guys met?
Y: We met during the 2012 euro tour but already knew each other on social media. Always the last standing at parties, we used to have some long after dark conversations about anything related to wheels. Good times!
A: We’re from the same generation of riders who learned by themselves and helped build the community. After that, we kept in contact and exchanged ideas over the years until we came up with this not so crazy idea.
How was DTFANG INDUSTRIES born?
A: We are already manufacturing our wheels in house in France and have been looking at starting a production in America for a while now. It made sense to have another factory on another continent to save on shipping costs and expand. Actual CAD vs USD vs € value and political climate is another advantage in favor of the location in Canada.
Y: Usual wheel manufacturers don’t offer easy and cheap ways to R&D new products. As a leader in wheel modifications, having our own factory made sense. Also, we want to prove that work and out of the box thinking make it possible to offer high quality products at overseas price.
When was DTFANG INDUSTRIES born?
A: We started talking about it as a joke about a year ago then realized the potential and started to look at things seriously. It took about 6 months to finalize the project and the paperwork but from there it went really fast. It had to go fast as we secured a not skateboard-related contract 3 months ago which allowed us to purchase all the remaining necessary equipment. It’s been a lot of work and real struggle to keep this for ourselves but the reward is well worth it!
Y: I want to add that it wouldn’t have been possible without both our own experiences and knowledge. Everything came down together at the right time and probably wouldn’t have been possible a few years ago.
Some serious piece of equipment at the new factory.
We heard you hired robots?
A: Hahaha, yes it’s kinda true. We are bidding on automation because a robot will cost the same to run in Canada or China. We both use lot of CNC work anyway so it really make sense at the end, of course it s a big investment but it truly make the difference on long term.
Y: If you want to be competitive with overseas prices you have to adapt and think out of the box. We are still hiring real people but most of the manufacturing process is being automated. It’s not 100% operational yet but we already managed to raise productivity and lower costs to come very close to our goal. We also confirmed we have more consistent products and better quality control by removing the human factor. Exciting times!
Repeatability is key to quality products.
When are we going to see the first Canadian Harfang and DTC wheels?
Y: Sooner than you think! Our first Harfang in house models with new proprietary core and polyurethane formula is being manufactured right now. Stay tuned for updates!
A: We already finished dialing in our equipment for wheel manufacturing and are pouring our first batches of Canadian DTC wheels. Same product, same quality! We still make both aluminum and urethane cores.
Do you offer your services to other wheel companies?
A: Yes, that is one of the main goals! We wanted to make sure our manufacturing process was on point before spreading the word but we’re now ready. We have very competitive prices; this should bring some serious change in the skateboard/longboard wheel market.
Y: Not only to wheel companies as there is a lot of demand for plastic/urethane molding. Since we manufacture our own molds we can offer a very fast concept to product turnaround time and can also work with smaller quantities. Everything is done in house!
Ready to be poured!
Can you tell us more about the DTFANG INDUSTRIES research center?
Y: We associated with Plasturgy Institute in Thetford Mines to welcome students and develop new technologies. Therefore we have a team dedicated to R&D ready for any custom project.
A: Research always been a key word for DTC, we both can spend hours talking about formulas, shapes…etc there is so much to do at the end today. We are also working on a bio-based replacement for polyurethane casting. Can’t say more for now but it’s very promising and we believe it to be the future. Patent pending…
Well there you have it… DTFANG INDUSTRIES coming at us. Thanks Yann and Alex!